VICTORIA CLIMBIE is dead, killed by political correctness.
The Orwellian think-speak of our age - Orwell actually called it Newspeak, but think-speak is the term that took root - is responsible for many crimes. Newspeak was devised, said Orwell in the appendix to 1984, "to meet the ideological needs of Engsoc, or English Socialism". It was a language "constructed for political purposes and intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using it".
Today's political correctness is a hybrid that has to cover many ideologies and initially feminism, though nowadays it is also required to put a positive spin on ethnic differences and handicap, mental or physical. As a result, people who are lame are "physically challenged". As if that made them any less lame, or ramps any more numerous.
This evasiveness makes it much harder to criticise someone who is black, even when their actions are manifestly irresponsible and their capacity to do their job is far short of what's needed. Suppose Carole Baptiste, the social services supervisor in charge of Victoria Climbie's social worker Lisa Arthurworry, had been white. Suppose she'd been an extreme follower of a Christian church, given to proselytising at every opportunity, neglecting her work, frequently away from the office and reluctant to do more than glance at case files.
She would have been cautioned, then warned and finally disciplined. She might even have been sacked, though political correctness would ensure she was given the comforting pretext of voluntary redundancy as well as monetary compensation to ease her distress and trauma.
But neither Victoria's inexperienced and desperately overworked young black social worker, nor her so-called supervisor, the religious fundamentalist, was ever bollocked by their team leader. If the unthinkable had happened, they'd have hollered "racism". After a lengthy enquiry, during which they'd have been suspended on full pay, each would doubtless have received generous compensation.
I don't want to be too hard on social workers. I know some marvellous ones who do a thankless job for derisory pay, work gruelling hours and can't answer back. But if slavish adherence to political correctness required all the case-workers in charge of the Climbie file to be black, it was wrong. True political correctness means being blind to colour.
And so the desperate plight of a tortured small girl was allowed to continue to the point where she died from her injuries. Yet many people must have noticed what was happening. Not perhaps her primary social worker, who could never gain access to the infamous flat where she was being kept in a bath, trussed up in a rubbish bag and scarcely fed; but when the mad, bad and dangerous aunt took the child to hospital. …